TWO divisions in Bundaberg will head back to the polls sooner than they expected after Bundaberg Regional Council called for two by-elections to be held next month.
Councillor Peter Heuser resigned from his division 10 seat on Thursday due to ill health, which triggered the double by-election call.
An emotional Mr Heuser fronted media on Thursday afternoon to make his announcement saying: "It's with regret that I make my formal resignation from council today.”
"It's within the best wishes of my family and the council and the community commitment,” he said.
The resignation allows the Electoral Commission of Queensland to simulta- neously run by-elections for division 10 and division 8, the seat formerly held by Member for Bundaberg David Batt.
At the 2016 council election, Mr Heuser fended off former division 10 councillor Lynne Forgan, NewsMail online editor Crystal Jones and Theresa Pascoe to win the seat.
It was unclear, at this stage, if any of these former candidates would contest again.
In December, three candidates nominated for Mr Batt's old seat.
Former One Nation state candidate Jane Truscott was first to announce her candidacy by discarding any association with the Pauline Hanson-led party.
"I'm no longer a member of One Nation,” Dr Truscott said at the time.
"This way I can speak more freely and run my campaign as I choose to
Dr Truscott polled reasonably well in the Division 8 suburbs of Avoca, Branyan and Millbank.
Next came businessman Steve Cooper, who only a couple of weeks prior, had shut his popular Cooper's Home and Hardware store after more than two decades.
Mr Cooper said he was running to give back to the Bundaberg community that had offered him so much.
"Thank you, Bundaberg, for the chance to serve you as customers,” he said.
"Now it is time for me to put my hand up and serve you publicly.”
Then there was long- serving Salvos member David Facer, who has lived in Avoca for 11 years.
Mr Facer said he was particularly proud of his "instrumental” role to bring Headspace to Bundaberg to benefit local youth, and that through his mental health advocacy, he had learnt skills that would make him an ideal councillor.
"I have been connected with work that is about achieving outcomes for people,” he said.
"I think that is one of the major strengths councillors need.”
Other contenders are likely to emerge for both seats in the coming week.
Candidate nominations close at noon on Tuesday, January 23.
If you're a voter who has recently moved to these divisions, you have until 5pm, Friday, January 19 to enrol.
Visit www.ecq.qld.gov.au for more information.
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey assured residents the council would function as normal.